longer driving distances on the third and last day
Photos 1, 2, 4 © Csonka Péter
Kiskunság steppe and the mountains of Slovakia
Slovakia and Hungary, 9 days
Our unique spring tour offers a visit to the Hungarian steppe of the Kiskunság National Park near Budapest, with highlights such as the Great Bustards courtship display and a chance to observe other exciting species, including owls and all European woodpeckers in the near-pristine forests of Slovakia.
The scenic Kiskunság National Park continues to preserve part of the once continuous Eurasian steppe. Among its many attractions, it provides home to one of the largest populations of Great Bustards in Europe. Alkaline lakes and grasslands, which are regularly flooded, attract massive numbers of ducks, geese and waders. Species include Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, Mediterranean Gull, White-winged Tern, Kentish Plover and other migrating shorebirds. Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole and Tawny Pipit can also be seen.
The limestone region of the Slovak Karst provides an abundance of owl and woodpecker species in attractive habitats. Pygmy, Tengmalm’s, Ural and Eagle Owl are all found, plus Hazel Grouse, 10 species of woodpeckers including Three-toed and White-backed, Collared Flycatcher and later n the season Corncrake, River and Barred Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher.
Slovakia’s Tatra Mountains are the perfect location to observe several notable species such as Golden and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel, Common Crossbill, Crested Tit, and on a lucky occasion even a Wallcreeper and other alpine species.
- 9 days in Slovakia and Hungary visiting national parks renowned for rare birds and mammals
- begin and end in Budapest
- use of 3 hotels conveniently close to the sites
- birding in 3 National Parks namely Kiskunság in Hungary, Tatra Mountains & Slovak Karst in Slovakia
- exploring a diverse range of habitats
- many raptors, owls, and the possibility of seeing all the 10 woodpeckers of Europe
- contrasting landscapes from endless steppes to the the High Tatras
2 nights in a small family run hotel at the Kiskunság NP, Hungary
3 nights in the Slovakian Karst region
3 nights in a lakeside hotel in the High Tatras
Cable car to the higher region to look for alpine species
Participation in the capturing of bats at one of the best places for bats in Europe
Upon arrival at Budapest Airport we head towards Kiskunság National Park. Here we shall search for Great Bustard, Saker Falcon, Red-footed Falcon, Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Montagu’s Harrier, Stone Curlew, marsh terns and Moustached Warbler.
We journey towards the border between Hungary and Slovakia, birding en route, looking for Imperial Eagle and other raptors. We pay a visit to the Szádelői Valley in the Slovak Karst for Collared Flycatcher, Rock Bunting, White-backed Woodpecker and Eagle Owl; the Szepes-Gömör Mountains for Pygmy and Tengmalm’s Owl, Hazel Grouse and Three-toed Woodpecker. A notable population of Ural Owl and woodpeckers can be found in the woods near the city of Kosice.
The Tatra Mountains is our next destination, where we look for Pygmy Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel and Common Crossbill. Depending on the weather, there is an option of taking the chair-lift from the rocky Demanovska Valley up to the scenic alpine zone, in the hope of seeing Water Pipit and Alpine Accentor.
We make our way back to Budapest for the flight back home, birding en route.